Friday, May 20, 2005

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Smashes All-Time First Day Record at Box Office

No matter what people say about it, George Lucas is undoubtedly a happy man this evening.

According to MarketWatch:

"Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" scored $50 million in first-day receipts at 3,661 theaters across the nation on Thursday, box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations said Friday. The take handily beats the one-day record of $44.8 million set last year by "Shrek 2."

With an opening like this, with the generally favorable reviews, with the number of people who are likely waiting a day or two to avoid the manic Star Wars-induced rush (myself included), Episode III looks poised to do some major Revenge at the box office.

This is a moment to begin considering how powerful a force (pun unintended) Star Wars really has on American and worldwide popular culture. To think how widely Episode I (The Phantom Menace) was derided, how poorly and viscerally new characters deemed unworthy (Jar Jar Binks) were treated by fans and critics alike, it’s a wonder that we’re witnessing the tying together of the two epic trilogies to such fanfare and enthusiasm.

And we can also begin to wonder how new generations of Star Wars fans will take in the now six completed films: will they watch 4-6 and then come back around to 1-3 like most people have and are doing at present? If they begin at Phantom Menace and go straight through to Return of the Jedi, will it flow and resonate as much as, say, the glorious whole of the Lord of the Rings trilogy?

And finally: will the sprinkling of rumors over the years ever bear fruit? Will there ever be a third Star Wars trilogy, taking us out to nine films?

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